Around this time of year we need to reflect on our progress this session and begin to set our priorities for next school session. It is really important that staff undertake some evaluation of their work but also vital that we hear the views of pupils, parents and others involved in our work. In this blog I will say a few things about how we hope to gather views this session.
Parents: Over recent years at this time of year I have sent out a paper survey to a cross section of parents. I usually get around 100 back and work through these to produce graphs showing parent feedback. This year, thanks to the parent council we will be able to do the survey electronically and this will make it easier for parents to complete and for me to produce graphs and comments. I will also be able to seek feedback on a wider variety of things (see below) and in so doing help raise the profile of some major pieces of work we are undertaking.
Pupils: Much of what has been said for parents also applies to pupils. However, I am also going to ask pupils to meet in focus groups to help identify specific things can do improve – to make poor things good and make the good things great. We have some ideas of what we are wanting to improve but meaningful and lasting change can only happen in a school if the pupils see the need for change and are involved closely in the change process.
Staff (teaching and non teaching): Again the mixture of surveys and focus groups will help to evaluate the progress this session and identify the areas for improvement for next session. Over the session we have also involved all staff in a process of validated self evaluation. In short this is where staff make a self evaluation of how they think they are doing and someone else confirms or questions their assessment. It should not be a cosy process – staff should be critical of their own practice and their colleagues should be help them to raise the standards of their work. Later in May all promoted staff will also have a session looking at the performance data from last session so we are better able to learn from the SQA results which come out in August.
The particular areas I shall be surveying pupils and parents on are as follows:
- Albyn pupils and parents – progress with the current school improvement plan
- Carden pupils and parents – priorities for the next school improvement plan
- Holburn pupils and parents – draft proposals for ‘closing the gap’ and the Pupil Equity Fund
- Victoria parents and pupils – updating the vision, values and behaviours statement
- Waverly parents and pupils – annual school questionnaire
Surveys should be completed next week and following this I shall be looking for groups of staff, pupils, parents and community partners to meet to draw out the main themes and to make proposals on how/when any particular actions should be addressed.
I want it to be your school as much as it is mine. Please take the opportunity to give feedback – although I cannot promise to give everyone what they want all of the time I will;
- listen to what people are saying
- involve staff, pupils and parents in shaping how we take forward the main actions from the surveys
- communicate the feedback (‘you said’) and the actions (‘we will …’) to all staff, pupils, parents and the wider community
It is a significant undertaking but one which I hope will not only involve you in shaping the school but also lead to even higher levels of commitment, participation, support, involvement and ultimately achievement for all associated in our learning community.